January 2006, V5#1: Production Thursday, Jan 29 2009 

Basic Paper Primer

Paper  weight is based on the basic size of a given paper as determined by a given mill.  For this reason, many weight notations one finds has at least 2 separate numbers.  This does not necessarily mean the weight fluctuates between the two.  Generally with printers and suppliers is not a range, but a definition from more than one source and may include more than one grade of paper (bond, text, etc.).  A 50/60# paper is ordered as 50# and as 60#.  However, when put through standardized testing, it is found that each sheet carries the same weight. All specifics supplied If in doubt, check with the business presenting the number information for formal explanation.  Gregath paper suppliers do recognize the standard variation in basis weight of + or – 5% as acceptable by industry standards.

Paper brightness affects the legibility and contrast of printing.  The brightness test measures the reluctance of paper under strict optimal conditions and related it to a white standard (Magnesium Oxide).  The test is mainly applicable to white paper grades.  Basic offset grades are usually in the 80% brightness range.  Aesthetic importance may also be given to the brighter papers.  However, if archival quality is a focus, one must be certain that it is not traded for the brightness.  White papers with 90+ brightness sometimes actually have a blue or colored cast due to additives. 


October 2005, V4#10: Production Thursday, Jan 29 2009 

A Little About Archival Quality

Internal Factors

  • Binding

The various binding processes that are employed take the same care to negate acidity as the care of paper selection noted above.

External Factors – Production

  • Gregath Printing Facility

Our printing plant is in a rural area with low air pollution.  While we are not a “white glove” facility, our employees are kept to a “clean hands” policy, which minimizes the amount of oils on the skin (guarding against acid transfer), as well as taking precautions to further lower particulates and chemicals in the air, in-house. Our physical plant is kept at an optimum temperature with a low relative humidity (down to 45%).

September 2005, V4#9: Production Thursday, Jan 29 2009 

A Little About Archival Quality

Internal Factors

The Gregath Publishing Company has a standard paper basis that all quotations and projects are based on unless the customer requests something different.  Our standard fine text paper is a 20/50#, uncoated, white, acid free paper.  This paper meets American National Standards Institute specifications for “Permanence of Paper”.  The paper is manufactured with chemical pulp under alkaline conditions.  Being of a very high benchmark (various ANSI and National Information Standards Organization standards), this paper meets these four basic requirements:

  • pH of 7.5-10 (balanced to archival)

  • A tear resistance of md index>5.25mNm2/6g which corresponds to a minimum of 40 gf.

  • Alkaline reserve: minimum of 2% calcium carbonate equivalent (buffered)

  • Less than 1% lignin (acidic)

This paper also earns “high” to “maximum” life expectancy for “Copies for Office Copying Machines” as established by ASTM International (formerly American Society for Testing and Materials).  This typically applies to xerocopy and digital grades.  While we have yet to find a published expected life span for permanent papers, ASTM suggests in their specification that paper meeting the high classification of this standard may be “usable” for 100 to 1,000 years.  Please note that the ASTM suggestion of usable means it can still be reproduced upon.  A reader can enjoy books printed on paper that is way past this “usable” stage of it’s life.

August 2005, V4#8: Define Thursday, Jan 29 2009 

Bleed: A printed image that extends beyond the trim edge of a sheet of paper.

December 2004, V3#12: Define Wednesday, Jan 28 2009 

Credit lines: text that indicate where material came from.  Generally used for “extra” elements such as photographs and copies of original items.  i.e. “Courtesy of…,” “Permission to reprint this material comes from…,”, etc. a type of caption

October 2004, V3#10: Design Wednesday, Jan 28 2009 

Overall colors: Even if you don’t have a full color budget, you can consider color on a bigger scale.  What colors of cover are offered and what colors of imprint are included in the base price?  What colors of end sheets and text paper can be used economically? A brown suede-look book might really be enhanced with cream text and end papers.  Then, to use gold or bronze foil or even cream ink?

Red foil on carmel suede finish.

Red foil on carmel suede finish.

June 2004, V3#6: Define Tuesday, Jan 27 2009 

Call-outs: Brief passages of text lifted from within the publication placed in larger type size (and occasionally font) to gain attention.  They are often inserted into the text (divided by the change of font/size, sometimes boxed, or with other graphics) as an element which breaks the text or copy.  Usually, it is “teaser” copy – attention-getting and draws readers into the item.

April 2004, V3#4: Design Tuesday, Jan 27 2009 

Often overlooked space saving technique: Many times, an author wants to put a lot of information in a book, while publishing in the fewest pages possible (basic economics).  While an author may easily be able to fill 400 pages, they may be able to present the same information in an easy to read format of 350 or less – thus spending less per book to produce in hard or softbound format.  If the author has chosen to use photographs, one of the most overlooked ways of “saving space” is to have both the photographs one is interested in using on a page and to “fill up” the white space around the photos and captions with other text.  With our fees for photos, many people group their photos onto pages, but rarely do they think to also add text to these pages.  A page with two 2×4″ photos can accommodate quite a bit of text besides the captions.  Before laying these pages out, it’s always a good idea to double-check with your printer.

December 2002, V1#4: Genealogy Saturday, Jan 3 2009 

Having trouble deciphering old records?  In addition to spidery hand (which can’t be helped) and bad reproduction (you might seek out another copy – even in microfilm), a culprit may be differing styles of writing.  Check out information on old handwriting.  One example if the instance of double s’s (ss) was often written like a misshapen lowercase cursive “f”…

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